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Insurance Talk — Digital Marketing Techniques for Small Businesses
The Importance of a Website for Your Business
Tammy Lesueur – We started off the conversation with direct marketing, which is basically old school marketing. You know, I mail you a piece of paper, you look at a piece of paper and hopefully do what I ask, pick up the phone or whatever. In today’s world, one of the things that everybody who has a small business needs to do is design a website. Now, in the old days before the land of the internet, the website was the yellow pages. And the yellow pages guy would come out and you would design your ad and that ad would be static in the yellow pages book for an entire year. Now, the yellow pages are basically digital in the form of websites and a lot of people will design a website to be a static website, but everyone knows the world isn’t static anymore.
CM – No, it’s constantly changing. And one of the things of building a website is, it’s kind of hard because when you build it you’re like, it’s new and fresh, it’s amazing. But then you look at it a year later and you’re like, shoot, I haven’t added anything or I haven’t updated that picture. Maybe I need to change this article or this page I wrote.
TL – Right. So what people have to understand is your website is a living part of your business. It’s something that you need to look at on a regular basis, once a month, maybe more often depending on how your business is and you need to be updating it. You need to be adding content to that website all the time because, as we all know, the big search engines are looking, they’re hungry for content. So the more content you have out there, the more often you’re going to show up in search results.
Showing Up in Search
CM – And that’s search engine optimization, and we’re not going to go into that today, but there are different professionals that can help with that. But an easy way and what the search engines are really doing is looking for a trustworthy site that has quality information. So if your site has really pertinent information to the search an individual types into that search engine, then your site will come up higher. And of course we all want to be on the first page, right? You don’t want your customers to be scrolling through pages of information to try to find your company. You want to be up there on the top so that you have a better chance of taking that prospect, that searcher to being a customer and purchasing your product, whether it’s insurance or a service like a contractor or a physical item like tea.
TL – And it could be anything. If you’re in business selling whatever that product is, you are the expert on that product. And with search engines, what I found over time with content is the more specific the content is, the more informative it is for the customer, the higher in the search you’re going to come up on that search engine. If I just said auto insurance and that’s all my website said, I could be a hundred pages back before you found Bancorp Insurance. But you know, if you write about…
CM – auto insurance for snowy conditions, or maybe auto insurance for Central Oregon specifically, which we have different needs than maybe somebody in Florida.
TL – Right, or how do I insure this antique car I just refurbished?
CM – Yeah, those are pretty specific.
TL – If you have a blog or an article out there, things you need to know before you insure your auto or why is it important to have higher liability limits, then people will type that something along those lines in, your article will pop up and then they find you online.
CM – And if your article, again, if it’s that relevant, informative, trustworthy content, that’s again what we’re talking about that you have to update it regularly. So we were just talking about this off the air, marketing isn’t something that you do one-and-done. It’s kind of like exercising. You got to get up every day, and every day you have to do it. So if it’s the once-a-week blog, which we’re going to talk about in a minute, or if it’s the once-a-week social media post, which we’ll get to later. Something, you’re doing something every day to tell people about your product or your business and why they should shop with you. Because it goes back to that — we do business with people we trust. TL – People do business with people they feel confident in, they have some trust in. You can build that trust definitely with your website.
CM – And it’s like the face of your business online. Like if you have a regular retail place, that’s the face physically, but online, you’ve got to prove that face is the same.
TL – And take your time with your website, learn, you know, make sure that when you build those menus, it’s easy for the customer to navigate. Ask customers, where do you go? What do you click on next to go here or go there? We’ve all been on a website when we couldn’t find something as special as the order page and you get frustrated.
Content, Content, Content!
TL – One of the biggest things with marketing is content. Content, content, content. And it’s also probably the hardest thing for a small business owner because you’ve got so many other things to do, right? You’ve got to manage your business. You’ve got to manage your clientele.
CM – You’ve got to do the books, you’ve got to order that thing. You’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that. For us, we’re selling insurance all day. And you might think, “What do I know that other people might want to listen to?”
TL – Exactly. So this podcast is content creation. I use this podcast for a lot of content on our site. I can use it for a blog. I can use it, just have it on there for people who want to listen to it.
CM – We use it for social media posts. We have it. We need to, right? It’s one of those things that you need to do. You could use it in a video. How can you create this audio that we’re creating that’s entertaining and also educational and relevant to our audience and then turn it into multiple different types of content for your website?
TL – So any content that is that versatile is what you’re looking for. Content creation can be overwhelming for anybody because first off what do I have to talk about? Perhaps you don’t believe you’re a good writer, don’t worry about it. You talk to your customers all day long and you’ve answered their questions. You can do a blog answering those questions. Write down the top five questions that your customers ask you.
CM – And it might just be for a week, every single time a customer asks you a question, write it down and then you’ll have a whole list of items that maybe would be good to talk about in a blog or to talk about on a podcast or a YouTube video. Something that you’re constantly talking about over and over and over again, chances are people need more information on it.
Get Started with Blogging
TL – That’s a simple way to start with blogging. Just take those top five questions that are asked all the time. And then if you’ve run into a situation that’s unique to a certain set of customers, there’s not only just one customer. Always remember there are thousands of customers who may have that similar situation. Write a special blog about it. Again, the more unique your content is online, that’ll make it higher in the search engine. People will type in, “I need to know about X, Y, Z, and how do I do this?” Then boom, your article pops up and there they are on your website.
CM – Maybe it’s a YouTube video, maybe you’re doing educational posts on something you do every day, like installing tile or, and at the end of course, plug that, ‘If you don’t want to do it yourself, call me.’ Right?
TL – Right. Or ‘How do you keep that tile clean?’ or ‘What’s the best way to maintain that new tile you just put in?’ or whatever else it is you’re selling.
CM – Yeah. So there’re a lot of opportunities to share the knowledge that you might think is just everyday knowledge.
TL – It is everyday knowledge to you, but it’s not to me.
CM – But it might not be to somebody else. Exactly. To your key customer.
TL – So that’s one of the things, content management. Talk about what you know. And what you don’t know, well you know, oftentimes you might know somebody else who does and you can invite them to be a guest blogger or a guest on your podcast. That’s always another way to build content.
CM – And one thing nice about that is that you’re then creating content for two people, and you’re able to share them with other audiences. So you might have an audience on your website or on your Facebook page or somewhere else that maybe another business owner that you work with would like to contact and vice versa. So doing that guest blogging or doing co-opt information is really nice for learning or getting to another group of people.
TL – It also broadens your reach online. There’re a lot of things online that you can get for looking at search engines, search engine optimizations. You can also hire people that will help you. It just depends on how much time you want to put into it and how much do you want to geek out on it ‘cause you really can.
CM – And also what’s your budget, right? I mean you can start buying ads on Google Ads and that becomes very expensive very quickly.
TL – Very quickly.
CM – You might be thinking, ‘Man, a blog, that’s a lot of work.’ Maybe you just start with one a month and you’d have twelve by the end of the year. That’s more than you would have had if you did nothing. Maybe you do one a week because you’re really ambitious. You’re quadrupling your amount of content that you just did in one year, right? I would say setting those goals and then really sticking through them. It’s kind of like exercise. You have to continue to do it every day.
TL – I think that’s a valid point. You need to keep doing it. You need to keep practicing it. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect the first time. You’re out there, you have your name out there.
CM – And you get better at it. The first time you write a blog, it might be very short. It might be very basic. Maybe the first video is a little rough and you don’t have any music. As you get better or you seek help from professionals, it will get better. You can have somebody help you edit that video. You can have another professional help you with the writing of the blog or maybe just formatting the blog to make sure that you have those pretty headers and the nice picture on the top. Maybe you need help just with creating the content. Maybe you have a phone conversation with someone and they help create that blog.
TL – That could do too and don’t forget to look at your competitors’ website. You can see how they’ve got their set up and then you know, you can always say, ‘Whoa, I really like that. Maybe I should do that on my site.’
CM – You know, we call it ‘rob and duplicate.’ Yes. Don’t remake the wheel, people. Just make it better.
Social Media for Small Businesses
TL – Social media. Everybody knows they should do social media. You should have a business presence in social media, on Twitter, Facebook.
CM – Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube. Gosh, it just keeps getting longer. TL – Social media can take all of your time. What I would counsel you to do is figure out where your customer lives. In my case, my customer doesn’t really live on Twitter, so I don’t use Twitter, but my customer does live on Facebook and Instagram and that might take you a little bit of time to find out where your customer goes on social media and how they interact on social media.
CM – And how each social media platform works, because each one is different and unique for what kind of posting it requires, or the frequency it requires. Maybe the type of content that’s required for each one of those locations. Like Facebook might be great for more of like an article or a blog but maybe Instagram is better for an image or a short video.
TL – And then we can’t forget YouTube. That’s also another social media. If you were more inclined to do a lot of videos, you may be building your video content on YouTube, and people will go there and look things up.
CM – LinkedIn’s another really big one for B2B, depending on who you’re contacting and what groups are found on LinkedIn. You can do a lot of business right there as well. And LinkedIn, as well as Facebook and Instagram and YouTube, have marketing tools for each one of those mediums. So you have to learn that social media kind of pretty in-depth before you become good at really good at using it.
TL – And every social media platform has different advertiser requirements, and then you need to, as a business owner, learn how to do that. And again, if you don’t want to do that yourself, there are people out there who you can hire that will help you, which may be the best way for you. I usually tell business owners, you know, they get overwhelmed with social media, who doesn’t get overwhelmed with social media? I tell them often, you know, if you’re producing the content, you can hire somebody that will help you market that content on whatever social platform you want to use or not utilize. I started off using Facebook and learned how to use it and even though you learn how to use it, Facebook changes their rules. They change it, it’s an ever-changing game that you have to keep up on, because one month, what you advertised last month might have been fine. This month Facebook says nope nope nope, we’re not going to let you do that anymore. So it can be frustrating.
CM – I know that one of the things that we do that is really popular on our Facebook is we always share what’s going on in the office or things that we are educating our customers on. So it might be education on Medicare like we’ve talked about in the past on this show, or it might be education on auto insurance. But we also like to share things that are wins for our employees as well as other customers. So maybe a win for our employee getting an award or us donating to a local organization or charity.
TL – Again, social media, use it for your small business, for people to get to know you. People like to know who they’re doing business with. So in our case, people love to know what’s happening in the agency. They love to know, ‘Oh, so and so went on a vacation here,’ or, ‘There’s a new baby,’ or whatever it is because then they feel like you’re part of their circle.
CM – Right. You’re more than just that contact that they call when they have a problem with their auto insurance. You’re a real live human being that they can connect with. Maybe you too have grandkids or love that good fudge recipe that, thanks to Pam for bringing fudge every year into the office, it’s delicious.
TL – And people like that connection. We’re all human and we like that connection. And I think a lot of times businesses when they go on social media, you know, try to be very, very business, and very business-oriented and only gave you out this and this. But we’re doing business with people.
CM – Yeah. So be a person, or at least highlight the people in your company or in your business that make a difference for your customers. Maybe it’s the person who answers the phone every time. Make sure they know who that person is.
TL – Yeah. It’s just that you’re building a community on social media and that’s part of what we do. And again, a lot of the content you have, you can use it across several different platforms.
CM – So if you wrote that blog, you can post it on Facebook or you can put it on Instagram. It doesn’t have to just be one or the other. You can put it on both.
TL – Right. And oftentimes, you know, I’ve been blogging long enough now. Probably for the last 20 years, I have old blogs. Look at your old blogs, revive them, put them back out there.
CM – If you did a really good article on winter driving and then next year there’s a big snowstorm, pull it out. You don’t have to, you know, as we said, you don’t have to remake the wheel. If it’s round and it works well, just make it better or you know, spruce it up a little bit and repost it.
TL – Yep. And I do that often, especially if the information stays relevant. If things change in your industry quickly, oftentimes in insurance, everything changes because the legislation made a new rule and then, you know, we get that information out to our customers as quickly as possible. Again, using blogs, social media, and even email marketing.
Visit Bancorp Insurance on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
CM – If you have any questions about Bancorp Insurance helping you with your small business or an entrepreneurial business, give us a call at 1-800-452-6826. You can also visit us on our beautiful website, thank you, Tammy Lesueur, at www.bancorpinsurance.com. You can learn more about us by going to our Facebook page, also Bancorp Insurance. You can find us on Instagram too, guys. We are real people here to help you with all of your insurance needs.